Friday, January 18, 2019

Is it time for the I word?

TWEET MENow that we know that it's quite possible that Mr. trump instructed his lawyer to lie to Congress, and that if true, he would be guilty of suborning perjury, the following editorial from The Atlantic is required reading.   

"On January 20, 2017, Donald Trump stood on the steps of the Capitol, raised his right hand, and solemnly swore to faithfully execute the office of president of the United States and, to the best of his ability, to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. He has not kept that promise.

Instead, he has mounted a concerted challenge to the separation of powers, to the rule of law, and to the civil liberties enshrined in our founding documents. He has purposefully inflamed America’s divisions. He has set himself against the American idea, the principle that all of us—of every race, gender, and creed—are created equal.

This is not a partisan judgment. Many of the president’s fiercest critics have emerged from within his own party. Even officials and observers who support his policies are appalled by his pronouncements, and those who have the most firsthand experience of governance are also the most alarmed by how Trump is governing.
“The damage inflicted by President Trump’s naïveté, egotism, false equivalence, and sympathy for autocrats is difficult to calculate,” the late senator and former Republican presidential nominee John McCain lamented last summer. “The president has not risen to the mantle of the office,” the GOP’s other recent nominee, the former governor and now senator Mitt Romney, wrote in January.
The oath of office is a president’s promise to subordinate his private desires to the public interest, to serve the nation as a whole rather than any faction within it. Trump displays no evidence that he understands these obligations. To the contrary, he has routinely privileged his self-interest above the responsibilities of the presidency. He has failed to disclose or divest himself from his extensive financial interests, instead using the platform of the presidency to promote them. This has encouraged a wide array of actors, domestic and foreign, to seek to influence his decisions by funneling cash to properties such as Mar-a-Lago (the “Winter White House,” as Trump has branded it) and his hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue. Courts are now considering whether some of those payments violate the Constitution.

More troubling still, Trump has demanded that public officials put their loyalty to him ahead of their duty to the public. On his first full day in office, he ordered his press secretary to lie about the size of his inaugural crowd. He never forgave his first attorney general for failing to shut down investigations into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, and ultimately forced his resignation. “I need loyalty. I expect loyalty,” Trump told his first FBI director, and then fired him when he refused to pledge it.

Trump has evinced little respect for the rule of law, attempting to have the Department of Justice launch criminal probes into his critics and political adversaries. He has repeatedly attacked both Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Special Counsel Robert Mueller. His efforts to mislead, impede, and shut down Mueller’s investigation have now led the special counsel to consider whether the president obstructed justice.

As for the liberties guaranteed by the Constitution, Trump has repeatedly trampled upon them. He pledged to ban entry to the United States on the basis of religion, and did his best to follow through. He has attacked the press as the “enemy of the people” and barred critical outlets and reporters from attending his events. He has assailed black protesters. He has called for his critics in private industry to be fired from their jobs. He has falsely alleged that America’s electoral system is subject to massive fraud, impugning election results with which he disagrees as irredeemably tainted. Elected officials of both parties have repeatedly condemned such statements, which has only spurred the president to repeat them.

These actions are, in sum, an attack on the very foundations of America’s constitutional democracy.
The electorate passes judgment on its presidents and their shortcomings every four years. But the Framers were concerned that a president could abuse his authority in ways that would undermine the democratic process and that could not wait to be addressed. So they created a mechanism for considering whether a president is subverting the rule of law or pursuing his own self-interest at the expense of the general welfare—in short, whether his continued tenure in office poses a threat to the republic. This mechanism is impeachment.

Trump’s actions during his first two years in office clearly meet, and exceed, the criteria to trigger this fail-safe. But the United States has grown wary of impeachment. The history of its application is widely misunderstood, leading Americans to mistake it for a dangerous threat to the constitutional order.

That is precisely backwards. It is absurd to suggest that the Constitution would delineate a mechanism too potent to ever actually be employed. Impeachment, in fact, is a vital protection against the dangers a president like Trump poses. And, crucially, many of its benefits—to the political health of the country, to the stability of the constitutional system—accrue irrespective of its ultimate result. Impeachment is a process, not an outcome, a rule-bound procedure for investigating a president, considering evidence, formulating charges, and deciding whether to continue on to trial.
The fight over whether Trump should be removed from office is already raging, and distorting everything it touches. Activists are radicalizing in opposition to a president they regard as dangerous. Within the government, unelected bureaucrats who believe the president is acting unlawfully are disregarding his orders, or working to subvert his agenda. By denying the debate its proper outlet, Congress has succeeded only in intensifying its pressures. And by declining to tackle the question head-on, it has deprived itself of its primary means of reining in the chief executive.

With a newly seated Democratic majority, the House of Representatives can no longer dodge its constitutional duty. It must immediately open a formal impeachment inquiry into President Trump, and bring the debate out of the court of public opinion and into Congress, where it belongs.
Democrats picked up 40 seats in the House of Representatives in the 2018 elections. Despite this clear rebuke of Trump—and despite all that is publicly known about his offenses—party elders remain reluctant to impeach him. Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House, has argued that it’s too early to talk about impeachment. Many Democrats avoided discussing the idea on the campaign trail, preferring to focus on health care. When, on the first day of the 116th Congress, a freshman representative declared her intent to impeach Trump and punctuated her comments with an obscenity, she was chastised by members of the old guard—not just for how she raised the issue, but for raising it at all.

In no small part, this trepidation is due to the fact that the last effort to remove an American president from office ended in political fiasco. When the House impeached Bill Clinton, in 1998, his popularity soared; in the Senate, even some Republicans voted against convicting him of the charges.
Pelosi and her antediluvian leadership team served in Congress during those fights two decades ago, and they seem determined not to repeat their rivals’ mistakes. Polling has shown significant support for impeachment over the course of Trump’s tenure, but the most favorable polls still indicate that it lacks majority support. To move against Trump now, Democrats seem to believe, would only strengthen the president’s hand. Better to wait for public opinion to turn decisively against him and then use impeachment to ratify that view. This is the received wisdom on impeachment, the overlearned lesson of the Clinton years: House Republicans got out ahead of public opinion, and turned a president beset by scandal into a sympathetic figure.

Instead, Democrats intend to be a thorn in Trump’s side. House committees will conduct hearings into a wide range of issues, calling administration officials to testify under oath. They will issue subpoenas and demand documents, emails, and other information. The chair of the Ways and Means Committee has the power to request Trump’s elusive tax returns from the IRS and, with the House’s approval, make them public.

Other institutions are already acting as brakes on the Trump presidency. To the president’s vocal frustration, federal judges have repeatedly enjoined his executive orders. Robert Mueller’s investigation has brought convictions of, or plea deals from, key figures in his campaign as well as his administration. Some Democrats are clearly hoping that if they stall for long enough, Mueller will deliver them from Trump, obviating the need to act themselves.

But Congress can’t outsource its responsibilities to federal prosecutors. No one knows when Mueller’s report will arrive, what form it will take, or what it will say. Even if Mueller alleges criminal misconduct on the part of the president, under Justice Department guidelines, a sitting president cannot be indicted. Nor will the host of congressional hearings fulfill that branch’s obligations. The view they will offer of his conduct will be both limited and scattershot, focused on discrete acts. Only by authorizing a dedicated impeachment inquiry can the House begin to assemble disparate allegations into a coherent picture, forcing lawmakers to consider both whether specific
charges are true and whether the president’s abuses of his power justify his removal.

Waiting also presents dangers. With every passing day, Trump further undermines our national commitment to America’s ideals. And impeachment is a long process. Typically, the House first votes to open an investigation—the hearings would likely take months—then votes again to present charges to the Senate. By delaying the start of the process, in the hope that even clearer evidence will be produced by Mueller or some other source, lawmakers are delaying its eventual conclusion. Better to forge ahead, weighing what is already known and incorporating additional material as it becomes available.

Critics of impeachment insist that it would diminish the presidency, creating an executive who serves at the sufferance of Congress. But defenders of executive prerogatives should be the first to recognize that the presidency has more to gain than to lose from Trump’s impeachment. After a century in which the office accumulated awesome power, Trump has done more to weaken executive authority than any recent president. The judiciary now regards Trump’s orders with a jaundiced eye, creating precedents that will constrain his successors. His own political appointees boast to reporters, or brag in anonymous op-eds, that they routinely work to counter his policies. Congress is contemplating actions on trade and defense that will hem in the president. His opponents repeatedly aim at the man but hit the office.

Democrats’ fear—that impeachment will backfire on them—is likewise unfounded. The mistake Republicans made in impeaching Bill Clinton wasn’t a matter of timing. They identified real and troubling misconduct—then applied the wrong remedy to fix it. Clinton’s acts disgraced the presidency, and his lies under oath and efforts to obstruct the investigation may well have been crimes. The question that determines whether an act is impeachable, though, is whether it endangers American democracy. As a House Judiciary Committee staff report put it in 1974, in the midst of the Watergate investigation: “The purpose of impeachment is not personal punishment; its function is primarily to maintain constitutional government.” Impeachable offenses, it found, included “undermining the integrity of office, disregard of constitutional duties and oath of office, arrogation of power, abuse of the governmental process, adverse impact on the system of government.”

Trump’s bipartisan critics are not merely arguing that he has lied or dishonored the presidency. The most serious allegations against him ultimately rest on the charge that he is attacking the bedrock of American democracy. That is the situation impeachment was devised to address." [Read more]

 I know that Mr. Mueller wants to dot his i's and cross all of hits t's. But I am not sure that the country can wait any longer.

I am just glad that publications like The Atlantic are starting to take notice. 






Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Mission *not* accomplished.

TWEET METoday Mike Pence declared victory against Isis and told the American people that they have been destroyed. Mr. trump made the same declaration a few weeks ago. (Hmm,where have we heard this before?)

 "We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency." 

Wrong! And our military leaders told him as much. Mr. trump made his announcement without giving a warning of his plans to his security leaders and the military strategists, and what happened today is a harbinger of things to come because of his reckless and incautious actions. 

Today, in a coordinated attack in Syria, ISIS radicals set off a bomb killing four Americans. Later in the day Mike Pence was forced to amend his earlier ridiculous statement, and try to backtrack his earlier statements about where we are in the fight against ISIS.

The problem with Mr. trump and the sycophants surrounding him, is that they believe that the real world is like one of his stupid condo projects. You can't just hype away the problem of real terrorism by using some marketing strategy to sway public opinion. Those four people who lost their lives today had families and loved ones. Not that it matters to Mr. trump. He would need a heart and a soul for things like this to have an effect on him. I will say the same about his number two man, Mike Pence, whose only focus these days seems to be stepping in for his corrupt and crooked leader once he is removed from office.

Finally, as Mr. trump's FOX VIEWS inspired government shutdown grinds on, we are starting to see how it is starting to disrupt our lives. We might not be one of those government workers who will go without a check, but at some point the government shutdown will start having a real serious effect on how we live our lives. A colleague of mine is flying to London next week, and she is not sure if there will be TSA agents at the airport, or if the air traffic controllers will be overworked. If you are relying on a tax refund check, you might want to hold off on those plans to spend the money.

At least you will have money to spend. Those poor federal workers who are living through trump's shutdown are not so lucky. And the images of families lining up outside food banks to get food to feed their families is not something we should ever have to see in the "greatest" country on earth.

“I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck.” 

Of course you are. And thanks to your shutdown, we are all a little less safe today.


Monday, January 14, 2019

Racists of a feather......

Image result for steve king images   It's nice to see House republican leaders finally moving to strip racist Steve King of his committee assignments. Some GOP leaders (some) have also spoken out against the open and unapologetic racist in their party, and you have to wonder what took them so long.

This is all good, but you know who have not spoken out against Steve King? If you guessed the president of the United States, move to the head of the class. Of course it would be hard for Mr. trump to denounce King for being a white nationalist, since he admitted that he himself is a nationalist, and that h does not believe that there is anything wring with such a label.

The truth is, Steve King has been empowered by the rhetoric and actions of Donald trump, and I suspect that the GOP will have a lot more Steve King type baggage to deal with before Mr. trump leaves the political scene. We can thank Mr. trump and Mr. King for giving us the wall, because it is a symbol that their racist supporters can stand behind. To them, it is so much more than just a wall, it is symbolic of their goal to keep America white, and keep the brown people out. This is more about an ethnically pure America than it is policy.

Today Mr. trump said that he has not been following the Steve King controversy. That was another lie, and it was laughable that he would think that anyone would buy it. Here is a man who follows the smallest of things on his many televisions, and he expects us to believe that he has not been keeping up with one of the bigger news stories over the past few days?

What this tells me is that he (trump) is afraid to condemn King, because his base is King's base, and the last thing that he wants to do now is piss them off. He needs them now more than ever, because the scandals just keep piling up one after another. He needs all the support from his base that he can get. And he will say (or not say) anything to get it.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Caption Saturday.

  • Image result for trump putin images
I need a caption for this pic.


Friday, January 11, 2019

No pay, and still no wall.

TWEET ME Today should be payday for thousands of government workers. Unfortunately, though, there will be a big fat zero where their money should be, thanks to Mr. trump and his fragile ego.

trump's vanity wall is going to cause countless families to suffer all sorts of unspeakable misery if this government shutdown doesn't end soon. It's not impacting the rest of us as much just yet, but it will. Just wait until all those TSA workers decide that enough is enough. Think of all the long lines and canceled flights at  our airports, and all the problems that will come as a result. Wait until the FDA can't properly check our food for poisons, and as a result the first little child dies in suburbia from some kind of food poisoning. Or the EPA fails to properly inspect a superfund site. Or, god forbid, the food stamp program is shut down in February, and all those poor working class trump voters  (the ones the New York Times love to fawn over) can't get their benefits.

I don't think that the orange one thought this through. He likes to say that folks who are with him will suck it up and suffer the long term consequence of not having food their tables, but wait until those bills start piling up, and their stomachs start growling. The con has been working because it hasn't seemed to affect Cult 45 in a serious way just yet, but if this shutdown continues it will.

Yesterday trump went down to the Southern border to show us how much of a national crises we were in, and let's just say his messaging didn't go over very well. It was a wasted trip.

First, he went to one of the safest towns in the region, where most of the residence want to keep things just the way they are, and where they get along just fine with those brown people South of the border. And then he had to sit and listen to a lecture from a border patrol agent, who had to explain to him that the wall won't do a damn thing to deter the serious criminals, who will just dig a long and deep tunnel right under it. Throw in the fact that all the contraband used as props to highlight the "crisis"--  such as the seized illegal drugs, money, and weapons-- were not captured at one of the illegal crossings along the Southern border, but at ports of entry into this country, which as we all know, is where the real problems start.

But this debate is not about facts with this president. It is about his wall and what it represents: A racist symbol of his dream of an America, that is more white and more homogenous than most of us could ever imagine. It is what he campaigned on, and it is, sadly, what his base expects.


Wednesday, January 09, 2019

The Liar- in-Chief goes prime time.

Image result for trump prime time images   We all know that the president of the United States is a proven liar, we just didn't know what lengths he would go through to lie to us.

Whenever the president of the United States is given a prime- time slot to address the nation, we all assume that he is telling us something that is of national importance.  Of course with this president, that assumption would be wrong. This was to promote a faux crisis to score political points. The man even tried to raise funds for his campaign off the back of his prime time address. That is just sick on so many levels.

Still, more importantly, are all the lies he told us.

"Fox News anchor Shepard Smith fact-checked trump's prime-time address on border security shortly after it ended on Tuesday night.

Smith pushed back on some of the president's claims following his 10-minute speech, including statistics about violent crime and murder rates committed by undocumented immigrants.

“Government statistics show that there is less violent crime by the undocumented immigrant population than by the general population,” 

The Fox News host also touched on the president’s repeated warnings about illegal drugs being brought into the country.

“But government statistics show much of the heroin actually comes not over the unguarded border but through ports of call,” Smith said.

The president said that the border wall would be paid for “indirectly” through a new trade deal with Mexico, but Smith also pointed out that the deal is “not yet complete.”
Trump said during his address that law enforcement officials have request $5.7 billion to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, but it was the president who made that demand, Smith pointed out.

“It’s he who requested it and he who said he would own the shutdown,” Smith said of Trump. “Nevertheless he’s making the case to keep his base together on this matter.”

Trump’s speech reiterated several of his talking points on the border wall since the partial government shutdown was triggered on Dec. 22 over its funding.

“This is a humanitarian crisis — a crisis of the heart and a crisis of the soul,” Trump said.

"Sadly, much of what we have heard from President Trump throughout this senseless shutdown has been full of misinformation and even malice," Pelosi said. "The president has chosen fear. We want to start with the facts."' [Source]

I am afraid that facts and this president do not go together.


Monday, January 07, 2019

An equal amount of outrage is needed.

I am glad that they caught the urban terrorist who allegedly was involved with the shooting and killing of little Jazmine Barnes in Houston, Texas.

I am as outraged now as I was when, from all initial reports (and based on what the eye witnesses said) her shooter was a white male in a red pick-up truck. I have to give props to the Houston PD for solving this crime quickly and getting the alleged killer (or killers)s off the street.

When I first heard that a white male in a pick up  truck had  probably pulled the trigger, I was outraged. Because, I thought to myself, not again. Well, as it turns out, we can't blame "whitey" for this one. It was not a hate crime. (Although I call it a self-hate crime.)  

I certainly hope that my black brothers and sisters will not be less outraged at this killing because one of our pulled the trigger. An innocent seven year old lost her life because this urban terrorist decided that it was cool to fire a weapon into a car with woman and children.

We can't blame this killing on racism. This, from all indication, was a black on black crime. Something that we have become all too familiar with in a lot of out inner cities across the country. I am not sure how we can stop it, but we have to start somewhere.

I suggest that it starts in the home, and many of you so called parents out here raising these little monsters, need to get a grip on what you are doing in your homes and your lives. If you can't raise them, don't have them. It's reallythat simple. 

*steps off soapbox*

*Pic from nbcnews.com


Saturday, January 05, 2019

Caption Saturday.

trump bald

I need a caption for this pic.

*Pic from heavy.com

Friday, January 04, 2019

Dirty words.

“I thought her comments were disgraceful. This is a person that I don’t know, I assume she’s new, I think she dishonored herself and I think she dishonored her family. Using language like that in front of her son and whoever else was there––I thought that was a great dishonor to her and her family. I thought it was highly disrespectful to the United States of America.”

That was Mr. trump today, commenting on the words of  freshman democratic congresswoman, Rashida Tlaib.

Oh the irony of it all. This is the same man who stated that he likes to grab women by the pussy, and he has called women "horse face"and "dogs", which goes along with a long history of criticizing women on many occasions for various reasons. This same man (and I use that term loosely) is now talking about someone dishonoring her country? I need a break!

What's scary, is that once again, the American press is allowing him to get away with it. They have been covering the non-story of Tlaib's words extensively, and rarely do they point out that this president is the one who brought the level of political discourse into the gutter.   He is the one who constantly tweets in ways that is more synonymous with a mean girl in high school than the president of the United States. He is the one who openly mocks and makes fun of people that he doesn't like, and lies constantly about the most simple things imaginable.

It's funny to watch all the pearl clutching  now being done by the right wing, who constantly defend trump no matter what he does.

I say good for Ms. Tlaib. There is nothing wrong with speaking one's mind and doing it with passion. Some democratic leaders are saying that she was wrong for speaking her mind, and they are calling for civility. Yeah right. We see how far "civility" got them. Sorry Michelle, that whole "when they go low we go high" stuff might work for normal people, but not Donald trump.

Thankfully, it seems that the majority of her supporters want her to speak her mind, and fortunately she is not backing down from her comments.

“I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait,” Trump said. “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.”

Now that's a mother f****r if I have ever saw one.





Thursday, January 03, 2019

King trump.

TWEET MEI was out of pocket for a couple of weeks field hands, but it's nice to be back in Philly and checking up on some of the latest news and opeds about America and the current state of things.

The following article is on point about so called Christian conservatives in this country. If you have been listening to folks like Jerry Falwell, Jr. go on about this president, you will understand why I like articles like the following.


"Why Trump Reigns as King Cyrus

The Christian right doesn’t like the president only for his judges. They like his style.

The month before the 2018 midterms, a thousand theaters screened “The Trump Prophecy,” a film that tells the story of Mark Taylor, a former firefighter who claims that God told him in 2011 that Donald Trump would be elected president.

At a critical moment in the film, just after the actor representing Mr. Taylor collapses in the flashing light of an epiphany, he picks up a Bible and turns to the 45th chapter of the book of Isaiah, which describes the anointment of King Cyrus by God. In the next scene, we hear Mr. Trump being interviewed on “The 700 Club,” a popular Christian television show.

As Lance Wallnau, an evangelical author and speaker who appears in the film, once said, “I believe the 45th president is meant to be an Isaiah 45 Cyrus,” who will “restore the crumbling walls that separate us from cultural collapse.”

Cyrus, in case you’ve forgotten, was born in the sixth century B.C.E. and became the first emperor of Persia. Isaiah 45 celebrates Cyrus for freeing a population of Jews who were held captive in Babylon. Cyrus is the model for a nonbeliever appointed by God as a vessel for the purposes of the faithful.

The identification of the 45th president with an ancient Middle Eastern potentate isn’t a fringe thing. “The Trump Prophecy” was produced with the help of professors and students at Liberty University, whose president, Jerry Falwell Jr., has been instrumental in rallying evangelical support for Mr. Trump. Jeanine Pirro of Fox News has picked up on the meme, as has Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador to the United States, among many others.

As the Trump presidency falls under siege on multiple fronts, it has become increasingly clear that the so-called values voters will be among the last to leave the citadel. A lot of attention has been paid to the supposed paradox of evangelicals backing such an imperfect man, but the real problem is that our idea of Christian nationalism hasn’t caught up with the reality. We still buy the line that the hard core of the Christian right is just an interest group working to protect its values. But what we don’t get is that Mr. Trump’s supposedly anti-Christian attributes and anti-democratic attributes are a vital part of his attraction.

Today’s Christian nationalists talk a good game about respecting the Constitution and America’s founders, but at bottom they sound as if they prefer autocrats to democrats. In fact, what they really want is a king. “It is God that raises up a king,” according to Paula White, a prosperity gospel preacher who has advised Mr. Trump.

Ralph Drollinger, who has led weekly Bible study groups in the White House attended by Vice President Mike Pence and many other cabinet members, likes the word “king” so much that he frequently turns it into a verb. “Get ready to king in our future lives,” he tells his followers. “Christian believers will — soon, I hope — become the consummate, perfect governing authorities!”

The great thing about kings like Cyrus, as far as today’s Christian nationalists are concerned, is that they don’t have to follow rules. They are the law. This makes them ideal leaders in paranoid times.

“When are they going to start rolling out the boxcars to start hauling off Christians?” Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, asked in 2016. If you’re hearing those boxcars pulling up in the distance, as it were, you don’t merely overlook the antisocial qualities of a prospective leader, you embrace them as virtues.

Mr. Trump himself well understands this longing for the hard hand of the despot. “If you don’t mind me saying so, you’ve gotten soft,” he told Mr. Wallnau and other evangelical leaders during the 2016 campaign — much to their delight.

Another important thing to understand about Cyrus is that he is not a queen. In the Christian nationalist world, legitimate political power is largely male power. Mr. Drollinger insists that the Bible describes only “male leadership.”

Of course, there are those on the Christian right who have made a show of holding their noses while supporting Mr. Trump to advance their aims of stacking the Supreme Court or ending abortion. But we are kidding ourselves if we think their continuing support for him is purely transactional.

I have attended dozens of Christian nationalist conferences and events over the past two years. And while I have heard plenty of comments casting doubt on the more questionable aspects of Mr. Trump’s character, the gist of the proceedings almost always comes down to the belief that he is a miracle sent straight from heaven to bring the nation back to the Lord. I have also learned that resistance to Mr. Trump is tantamount to resistance to God.

This isn’t the religious right we thought we knew. The Christian nationalist movement today is authoritarian, paranoid and patriarchal at its core. They aren’t fighting a culture war. They’re making a direct attack on democracy itself.

They want it all. And in Mr. Trump, they have found a man who does not merely serve their cause, but also satisfies their craving for a certain kind of political leadership." [Source]

Thoughts?